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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

September 19, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Mariners are hosting four other BC Premier Baseball League teams this weekend as they all take part in the First Annual Zack Downey Memorial Fall Baseball Tournament at Layritz Park in Victoria.

Victoria Eagle’s pitcher Jacob Potter delivers a pitch in his game against Nanaimo Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The tournament is an opportunity for all teams involved to assess new and returning players in game situations, as the fall is typically the start of a “new” season for all teams who have completed their summer season and have graduated players, or who have bantam players moving up that hope to play on the Junior Premier or Premier teams in the spring.

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The fall tournament is a good time for coaches to evaluate a number of pitchers like the Eagles Karsten Waters (left) and the Pirates Sam Baker (right)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

More importantly however the tournament is meant to honour the memory of Zack Downey, a member of the Victoria Mariners who passed away due to cancer this past summer.

“The Downey family wanted something that would keep the memory of Zack alive and we thought what better way to have a tournament in his honour,” said Mariners Head Coach Mike Chewpoy. “It is a great way to start the fall season and a great way to remember a great kid and great player who gave his all to the game and was a great member of the community.”

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Nanaimo’s Wyatt Strachan strokes a hit down the third base line in Fridays game against the Victoria Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The teams involved in the tournament include two Victoria Mariner squads, the Nanaimo Pirates, Parksville Royals, Victoria Eagles and Coquitlam Reds.

The two Mariner teams kicked things off on Thursday afternoon, while the Mariners then played the Nanaimo Pirates Thursday evening. All games in the tournament are 6 inning affairs.

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Victoria Eagle Cade King bids for a base hit in a game against the Nanaimo Pirates Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

On Friday morning, the Eagles kicked into action with a game against the Mariners at 8:00 am and then another against the Pirates at 10:15 am. Action continued Friday with the Pirates battling Parksville at 12:30, the Royals then meeting the Reds at 2:45 and the Reds meeting the Mariners at 5:00. Scores were not available.

On Saturday, games will continue with the Reds meeting the Mariners at 8:00 am, the Royals and Mariners at 10:15, the Royals and Eagles at 12:30, the Reds and Pirates at 2:45 and the Mariners and Eagles at 5:00.

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Eagles baserunner Tyson Abbott heads to third base during a game against Nanaimo on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Sunday sees the final round robin games go at 8:00 am when the Eagles meet the Reds, 10:15 with the Mariners facing the Pirates and 12:30 when the Royals face the Mariners. The two teams that finish first and second after the round robin will then play a championship game at 3:00 pm.

All proceeds from the tournament will go to the Zack Downey Memorial Scholarship Fund which has been set up and will be awarded annually to a baseball player from the Victoria region that displays the same traits that Downey brought to the game, namely someone who is at the top of their game both on and off the field.

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The Zach Downey Memorial Tournament Championship trophy will be awarded to the tournament winner on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

If you are missing your fix of local baseball, please head down to Layritz Park this weekend to see some good ball and support a worthy cause.

If you can’t make it and would like to contribute directly to the Zack Downey Memorial Scholarship Fund, please contact Head Coach Mike Chewpoy for details on how to do so at 250-686-2707.